Renowned yoga guru, Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar died today, at the age of 95. While countless teachers undoubtedly played a role in ushering yogic traditions from their Eastern roots to the West, Iyengar is the most well-known.
After suffering through a host of ailments in his younger years–typhoid, influenza, tuberculosis, and malaria–Iyengar turned to yoga for healing. He developed his own practice, marked by a focus on body alignment and the use of props such as blocks and straps, and began teaching students around the world. Iyengar was yoga’s great translator, synthesizing some of the more mysterious spiritual elements of the practice with physical poses (asanas).
In honor of Iyengar and his quest for communion between mind, body and spirit, here are 10 quotes about the human body from his book “Light on Life.” May you hold these truths in your hearts and minds as you navigate a world peppered by messages about how you “should”¯ look.
- “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
- “Do not look at others’ bodies with envy or with superiority. All people are born with different constitutions. Never compare with others. Each one’s own capacities are a function of his or her internal strength. Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”¯
- “It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self and intelligence.”¯
- “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the souls open.”
- “We must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and that of the mind. When two parties do not cooperate, there is unhappiness on both sides.”
- “The physical body is not only a temple for our souls, but the means by which we embark on the inward journey toward the core.”
- “Anything physical is always changing, therefore, its reality is not constant, not eternal.”
- “You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind and souls.”
- “As we explore the soul, it is important to remember that this exploration will take place within nature (the body), for that is where and what we are.”
- “There is no difference in souls, only the ideas about ourselves that we wear.”
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